Exposes and explores the prevalence of racist restaurant branding in the United States
Aunt Jemima is the face of pancake mix. Uncle Ben sells rice. Chef Rastus shills for Cream of Wheat. Stereotyped Black faces and bodies have long promoted retail food products that are household names. Much less visible to the public are the numerous restaurants that deploy unapologetically racist logos, themes, and architecture. These marketing concepts, which center nostalgia for a racist past and commemoration of our racist present, reveal the deeply entrenched American investment in anti-blackness. Drawing on wide-ranging sources from the late 1800s to the present, Burgers in Blackface gives a powerful account, and rebuke, of historical and contemporary racism in restaurant branding.
Forerunners: Ideas First Short books of thought-in-process scholarship, where intense analysis, questioning, and speculation take the lead
Naa Oyo A. Kwate is associate professor of Africana studies and human ecology at Rutgers. She is author of Burgers in Blackface: Anti-Black Restaurants Then and Now (Minnesota, 2019) and editor of The Street: A Photographic Field Guide to American Inequality.
"This book succeeds in showing how certain racist restaurants were founded to capitalize on the degradation of other human beings through the use of pernicious stereotypes. The real value in this book is its ability to open up questions of racism at the heart of American society and food culture, all to the detriment of the African American experience."—Food, Culture & Society